The pandemic isn’t over yet. Stop pretending that it is.

When I first heard that Ottawa was being put in the red zone, I wasn’t surprised. However, when I found out about restaurant restrictions being loosened, I kind of rolled my eyes and wanted to bang my head against the wall. Perhaps it’s for the best that I’m physically disabled and unable to do that.

None of this makes sense to me. I do understand that restaurants need to make money, but I feel it’s too soon. There’s a reason why Ottawa’s in the red zone. Numbers continue to rise almost right across the board. By allowing restaurants to have more people, you’re not taking the pandemic seriously and putting others at risk.

Just over a week ago, fifteen restaurants were fined for ignoring OPH guidelines, but less than a week later, it’s suddenly safe to allow more customers into an establishment. Did something related to the virus and the variant change? Did I miss something?

Just this past weekend, I was out and about in Centretown on both days. I certainly didn’t get the vibe that we’re in the red zone. During my times outside, I came across many that weren’t wearing masks or physically distancing. If I didn’t know better, I would think that the pandemic was over. The pandemic isn’t over yet, no matter how much you wish it were.

Yes, people are getting vaccinated, and plenty more will be soon. At least that’s the plan. As we’ve all seen, plans often change. There have also been issues regarding booking appointments, long line-ups outside, and recently I heard that many people who are eligible for the shot are refusing to get one. Right now, only certain people can get the vaccine. As the list expands, I fully expect more glitches to occur.

This isn’t a good system and it has never been. I can certainly understand why some people are confused, and it may also partly explain why Ottawa residents aren’t taking it seriously. One day we’re told we’re in the red zone, but the very next day, we’re being told that restaurants can have more people. Money first, people second. Common sense seems like a distant third.

And what about people with disabilities….?

Loosening restaurant restrictions also affect people with disabilities, maybe even more than others would think. Here’s an example:

If you’re a PWD that has a caregiver and that caregiver decides to go out for dinner one night. Not only are they putting themselves at risk, but they’re also putting YOU at risk as well as anyone else that they’re assisting or coming into contact with.

Is that fair to you? Absolutely not!

It’s even more unfair if you’ve been taking measures to do what you can to protect yourself and the people you care about. All of the steps you took suddenly mean nothing, and now you may have Covid.

But…wait..the rules changed, so things must be ok. Restaurants are safe.

The TV and internet told me so.

Another thing to consider.

I have several friends that are medically speaking considered high-risk. A few have received vaccines, and some have been able to book an appointment. However, there are still many high-risk people who aren’t anywhere near the list of those that should qualify to get the vaccine.

Whenever I see someone not wearing a mask, I view it as a sign of disrespect, and it has very little to do with me.

My first thought is typically wondering how many people have they encountered or been in contact with? Secondly, In a world where we’re now constantly being told to wear a mask, why do they think that they’re an exception? Yes, I realize that it could be due to a medical reason, but that’s not always the case.

The bottom line is if you’re CHOOSING to not wear a mask or to social distance, you’re putting others at risk, especially those who are considered high-risk.

The pandemic isn’t over yet, and it won’t be for a while.

Please wear your mask, continue to physical distance and wash your hands.

If not for you, do it for everyone else.